Sunday, February 06, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

I guess you could call me un-American; but I am not a big fan of football.  The game is on and I am typing this.  My father-in-law was a huge Steelers fan while he was alive; so if there's any allegiance, I guess it's that.  Every now and then I am hearing my wife shriek from the other room as she cheers on her dad's team. I, on the other hand, am a HUGE baseball fan.  For me, the Super Bowl means that it's only a few weeks until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.

I managed to get some more "on air" time today and worked a few stations on 40 and 20 Meters this afternoon.  I worked WA1SKQ, Rich in Cranston, RI as well as AB7JK, Kim in Largo, FL and finally KB0BWY, Bill in Ramsey, MN.  That last QSO bodes well as K6JSS/0 leaves Kansas and becomes K6JSS/0 from Minnesota this week.  Minnesota has always been a "pipeline state" for me - always very easy to work, so maybe K6JSS won't be as quite as big a struggle this week.

It was funny during the QSO with Bill, though.  Band conditions changes as we were QSOing and it was like someone pulled a window shade down on Bill.  He went from 569 to nil in a matter of seconds. Then the QSO was over.  I sent my 73 and my call to keep it legal; but I severely doubt that it made it to the other end.

I also downloaded and have been playing around with Ham Radio Deluxe version 5 this afternoon.  I thought it was going to be snail slow on the laptop in the shack, but so far it has been only tolerably slow. Considering that Dell was designed when Windows 2000 was in vogue, that's not bad at all. On the main computer and the new netbook, it is as slick as icy rain in January. 

So the sequence of computerized logging programs has been from Log-EQF to Win-EQF, to AC Log and onto Ham Radio Deluxe.  I am not sure if I will abandon AC Log and move over to HRD for good, but it's fun to play with in the meantime.  It is relatively easy to use even early on.  I suppose once I get used to it, it will be even easier to use.  It has a lot of nice features, looks nice and best of all, is free!  What true blue Ham wouldn't get excited about the "free" part?

I like having the DX Cluster window right beneath the log window.  Not that I use the DX Cluster to chase DX stations; but it's nice to see what other Hams are hearing and where they are hearing it.  It gives you a good idea as to how the bands are working at any given time. As a QRPer, I have found that if the DX has made it to the cluster, the chance of  being heard grow slimmer and slimmer as the post gets older and older.  A QRPer's best chances are when the DX first comes on the band, before they are spotted.  That's why we fans of low power have to be vigilant and good listeners.

The world map with the delineation of day/night is cool too.  That magical time of grayline propagation is easier to see with that display.  The first time I worked Australia as a Novice was via grayline propagation. I've been a big believer of that path ever since.

Having all these tools available on one screen is very nice.  Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch; and HRD has it's drawbacks, too.  Since it's a more complicated program, it's not as fast as AC Log. In particular, importing ADIF files takes quite a bit longer.  Also, there are more keystrokes involved; but after I get used to the program, this might be a small price to pay for all the added features.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

1 comment:

VE3WDM said...

Good morning Larry, I have started using HRD as well. I found it a learning curve. I also like the fact that I can run either my K2 or K3 from the program. It's a very simple switch from rig to rig and the program retains all separate settings as well.